Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD) Review
Just how fast data storage technology has advanced over the years, it never ceases to amaze me. It always advances at such incredible speed, and once you think you have the best, largest or fastest device, something different comes along that supersedes what was once possible.
A few months ago, I had the chance at sharing with you about Solid State Drive (SSD) technology, but it was meant as a removable storage laptop application. I shared with you about SSD technology, how it is an alternative to the conventional hard drive, but at the same time offering you the advantages of flash based technology. I shared with you the benefits such as zero noise, low heat and substantially faster sustained transfer speed. But I never had the chance to experience SSD in a desktop platform day in and day out.
That chance arrived thanks to the folks at Patriot Memory and now I'd like to share with you how my computing experience has changed over the past 3 months; I reviewed the Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB Solid State Drive (PFZ128GS25SSDR). If you thought SSD wasn't ready for primetime, you're dead wrong.
About Patriot Memory
'Patriot's development and manufacturing facility are located in Fremont, California USA. Our manufacturing segment is composed of a highly skilled production staff and multiple production lines optimized for modules, giving Patriot the ability and resources necessary to provide a full line of memory module solutions.'
Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB SSD Product Overview
'Patriot Torqx Solid State (SSD) drives are the latest in storage technology based on flash memory. Using state-of-the-art NAND flash chips and an ultra-fast controller, Torqx SSDs offer a fast, quiet and ultra-reliable solution for your data storage needs. Torqx SSD is designed with built in DRAM cache which allows faster real-time transfers that leads to faster drive performance.
Patriot Torqx SSDs provide the ultimate in storage technology for desktops, laptops, workstations, servers and Apple computers..'
Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB SSD Product Specifications
Editor's Note: Can you spot something incredible here? I spy with my little eye...a 10 Year Warranty! Yes, that is not a typo, you read that correctly, a ten-year warranty! I've never seen any storage device manufacture offer warranty that long. This can only mean that Patriot Memory strongly believes that it's SSD can last and operate that long and can stand by their words if that number doesn't hold up.
Let us look at the specifications for the Torqx SSD because it's rather amazing. Measuring 3.9 inches in length, 2.7 inches in width and an impressive 0.3 inches in depth, you can literally see the immediate benefits of an SSD meant for use in either notebook or desktop application.
This is mind boggling news if you factor in the speed at which the Patriot Memory 128GB Torqx SSD can operate; sequential read speed is rated up to 260MB/s and sequential write speed is rated up to 180MB/s!
What's funny is that Patriot Memory has no specification or measurement for access time for its read and write operation (usually given in milliseconds). I don't have a reason at why none is given (I would have thought this would have been used as a major selling point) but let us remember for a second that SSD technology (compared to a normal mechanical hard drive) makes no use of any mechanical method of operation, meaning there are no platters and there are no actuator arms reading and writing across the platter. As a result, there is virtually no delay in executing this processes. What this means for you is that because all SSD's have ridiculously low access times and latency, you will have instant execution of read and write operations like you've never seen before. In theory, applications you have will start in an instant, and your operating system will run like Usain Bolt. You'll see this later on in the review.
First Impressions of the Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB SSD
I got to give the people at Patriot Memory who designed the package for the Torqx SSD some credit as they have done a beautiful job at the packaging of this SSD. The box looks like it flows and can be easily spotted far away, a very attractive design with the SSD poking its head out of the box. Patriot Memory has its motto printed at the top left corner which states 'Innovation - Quality - Performance' and this makes you feel like you've purchased the right product. The lower right hand corner informs you that the SSD includes a free 3.5" mounting bracket for use in desktop computers which is indeed a bonus as some manufactures of SSD do not bundle this with their device, obviously to save $$$.
Turn over the box and you see the funky bright orange sticker that stands out claiming 10 YEAR WARRANTY. End off by reading some features of this SSD.
Open up the packaging and in two separate plastic containers will you find the Torqx 128GB SSD and the 3.5" mounting bracket with included screws. The mounting bracket feels sturdy and feels of lasting quality. It's painted with high quality black paint that won't chip off later on and the holes for the screws are sanded down with precision and raised just a bit give the SSD some clearance to prevent any possible vibrations from the two metals.
Lastly we come across this little plastic bag which contains a jumper that is used for firmware upgrades. The firmware upgrade capability will be used by Patriot Memory to upgrade algorithms for its SSD and offer any changes they feel will benefit the user down the road.
Feast your eyes on the Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB SSD. Marvel at the sight of it's fantastic brushed aluminum exterior, gorgeous holographic looking front sticker, and curved edges. Everything about the Torqx SSD looks top-notch. The design is simple but the thought process to make it perfect goes the extra distance. Take for example the curved edges, it not only makes the SSD look sexy, it's also functional at the same time, preventing any sharp edges that could possibly hurt something during installation. They could have easily have made the exterior with four simple 90 degree edges.
The sticker is laid straight and the brushed aluminum exterior has machining marks that are in harmony with the underside of the SSD. Machine marks are placed vertical on top and bottom of the SSD to make everything equal and not look out of place. The aluminum casing is strong and will withstand anything thrown its way.
Turn the SSD over and you will notice the standardized SATA power connector and data connector. Alongside is two pins for the jumper cable that is used for firmware upgrades. Lastly we come across two warranty sticker on opposite sides of the SSD that informs us that warranty will be void if the stickers are broken. Being a review site, we broke the stickers anyway to show you the innards.
Looking down from the top of the Torqx SSD we find a NAND flash memory configuration of 2 rows of 4 columns that read SAMSUNG K9HCG08U1M-PCB0. The same layout is on the underside of the PCB, thus resulting in sixteen total flash memory chips. These Samsung chips are MLC-large block chips that are soldered onto the board directly on top each other and operate between 2.7 and 3.6v.
The two remaining chips below the Samsung modules are directly related to each other. The first chip is made from INDILINX (model number: 1DX110M00) and is the integrated SSD controller.
The next chip right beside is the SSD controller is its own memory cache bank. If you remember how conventional hard drives of today have about 16MB of cache, well you're in for a treat because the Elpida S51321DBH-5ATS-F memory module provides 64MB of cache!
Well now that you've seen the inside of the SSD, you now see how simple the design really is and why SSD's can be expected to last quite a long time because there are no moving parts. It's rather amazing why SSD's weren't introduced to the consumer much earlier.
Performance and Results Testing
The Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB SSD will be tested in the following programs to verify its speed ratings, access times and more: FDBENCH, CrystalDiskMark, HD Tach, AS SSD Benchmark, and HD Tune.
Also the Torqx 128GB SSD will be put through a stop-watch test verifying how long it takes to transfer 716MB and 1.36GB video files within the SSD drive through different directories.
Patriot Memory claims a sequential read speed of up to 260MB/s and a sequential write speed of up to 180MB/s and testing confirms that those numbers are relatively right up there.
CrystalDiskMark results show a sequential read speed of 254MB/s (2% lower read speed than advertised) and a sequential write speed of 143MB/s (20% lower write speed than advertised). These numbers are still very impressive and certainly noticeable in real life. It's lightning fast!
AS SSD Benchmark results show a sequential read speed of 237.91MB/s (8.52% lower read speed than advertised) and a sequential write speed of 106.43MB/s (41% lower write speed than advertised). The numbers come out just a little lower but that's to be expected from running different programs.
AS SSD Benchmark results show that the Torqx has an read access time of only 0.136ms and write access time of 0.324ms.
FDBENCH results show a read speed of 221MB/s (15% lower read speed than advertised) and write speed of 143MB/s (20% lower write speed than advertised).
HD Tune results show us that the average access time ranges from 0.09ms to 3.0ms depending on the size of transfer.
I think HD Tach was the program that put everything into perspective. If I compare the results of the Torqx SSD vs. the Hitachi SATA hard drives I tested before (in RAID 0), then it's really eye opening. The Torqx SSD has a burst sequential read speed of 204MB/s and average sequential read speed of 234.7MB/s (compared to 132.8MB/s and 68.6MB/s respectively for the Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 in RAID0). Random access time for the Torqx was 0.1ms compared to 13.8ms for the Hitachi Deskstar's.
Real world usage of the Patriot Memory Torqx SSD commenced over the span of 3 full months with zero problems with reliability. I can't stress enough of how fast programs start now compared to the old conventional hard drive I was using (Hitachi Deskstar 7K250).
Everything just flies in an instant and operations such as file encoding/decoding is faster than ever (WinRar, 7zip). For example with Adobe Photoshop, it would have started in 11 seconds, whereas with the Torqx SSD installed (just been ghosted), it starts in only 4 seconds...Insane! Programs such as Microsoft Office which would have been started in 4 seconds, now start the instant when you click the icon. I'm not talking about small improvements which make little difference, these are major time reductions all across the board. Opening multiple applications in the span of a few seconds is now possible, opening a large PDF or RAW file is now like nothing with a SSD.
For another test, I timed how long it took to copy over a 716MB video file and a 1.36GB video file to the Patriot Memory 128GB Torqx SSD. This was tested in Windows 7 64bit Professional and used the same files I used for my other storage reviews.
I don't know what to say other than the Patriot Memory Torqx SSD is completely savage!
There's no need for me to justify even further just how incredible life is with the Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB SSD. All you need to know is that you need to 'GO OUT AND GET IT!'
The only question mark for SSD technology is the pricing. The 128GB Torqx SSD goes for $429CDN, which is a pretty hefty penny for only 128GB but gosh darn it, with a 10-year warranty, blazing fast read and write speed which cannot be duplicated by any conventional hard drive, adding the Torqx SSD will free up your system of a bottleneck that you'll benefit of dramatically. I say the Patriot Memory Torqx 128GB SSD is worth every penny and SSD's are ready for primetime.
Pros and Cons